Enter the Cat Ch. 07byMygypsy©
I watch Rosy stretch out in the shade; her tail flicks lazily as she makes herself comfortable on her side.
"Rosy," Edwin calls enticingly.
Edwin is standing over his kill, his front feet poised on the shoulders of the beast. The sun strikes him from the side leaving much of the evidence of his messy feeding in shadow.
"Leave my sister alone," Sam growls back as he gets to his feet. He moves forward to stand at the edge of the shade, glaring at Edwin.
"Rosy, come, eat," Edwin calls. "I'm not angry with you."
"Piss off," Steven calls back. A long coughing sound that betrays his annoyance.
"Rosy, I've kept a lot of the best pieces for you," Edwin calls in low tones.
"You after trouble Edwin?" I demand as I kick the dirt up with my hind feet in warning.
"Huh," Edwin's snort comes out disdainfully.
"Leave my sister alone," Sam repeats as he lays his ears back in annoyance.
"Yeah, piss off," Steven grunts.
"Rosy eats from my kill," I state angrily. I don't want Rosy being influenced by Edwin. She is head strong enough without any encouragement to disobey me from him.
I glance at Rosy where she had been resting in the shade to find her watching the exchange with interest. She is on her feet stretching; the sun highlights the inky rosettes beneath her dark coat drawing attention to her.
"Rosy, come here with me," Edwin calls softly. "Come with me."
I watch in disbelief as Rosy walks towards him; Edwin rushes towards her purring and extending his nose to sniff at the corner of her mouth. He is grunting with excitement and purring softly as he faces her. He raises his tail high over his back as he humps the air slightly. Fury burns through me as I realise he is trying to seduce her in front of me.
"No you don't," I growl angrily as I rush forward.
Rosy is highly aware she has been in serious trouble and may just yield to him in an effort to please someone.
I feel my chest strike the side of Edwin's shoulder heavily and he is sent tumbling to the ground. I see Rosy slinking away uneasily, and then I am focusing on Edwin as he leaps to his feet and faces me belligerently. I rush him, giving him no chance to gather himself properly, and deliver a nasty swipe to his side as I go by. We circle each other cautiously and I leap forward grabbing him as I wrestle for a good bite hold. Edwin leaps away, then darts back in an attempt to surprise me. I take him down expertly, dealing several hard punishing bites before he yowls in pain and flees from me.
I watch him retreat to the shade of some trees a comfortable distance away before pulling myself up to my full height and roaring my victory. There is a frightened screech and I look around to see Rosy racing away from us. Her body seems to melt down into the top of the grass, only the top half showing, as her speed seems to increase. If she had the tawny colouring of an African lion, or it was a moonless night, she would be nearly invisible as she runs.
I take off after her instinctively and it only takes me an instant to realise this is no attempt to tease or tantalise. I can smell her fear on the faint breeze that wafts back to me as I chase after her. I am left wondering if it was the fight or my roar of victory afterwards that has her speeding across rough ground at a dangerous pace. I strain to keep her in sight, barely aware of the cats behind me. Slowly she begins to pull away from us and when the fence comes into view, I am sure it will force her to stop.
Rosy changes course slightly so she will end up running nearly parallel to the fence. I don't see what she has planned until she changes course sharply. She runs at the fence line and I am shocked when I see her leap high, grabbing frantically at a tree trunk as she scrambles wildly. She manages to climb up to a branch and starts to rush along it; it breaks under her weight leaving her sailing through the air towards the fence.
A shriek of fear comes from Mitchell who is running shoulder-to-shoulder with me as we watch Rosy hit the top of the fence netting. She seems to hang there a fraction of a second before plunging sharply to the ground; she skids along on her face or neck before spinning in a summersault end over end. She is up quickly and flees into the surrounding bush; just before she is out of sight I see her falter slightly as she seems to miss a stride.
I head for the exit from the paddock; I strain to keep going at my fastest speed. Even Mitchell, who is extremely fast, can't leave me behind. Outside the fence line I head along the faint vehicle track, slowing to a swift trot to catch my breath slightly.
"Rosy," I roar without breaking stride.
The cats behind me begin to fan out into the thick under growth. I hear Sam, then Mitchell call to their sister. More add their voices as we fan out from the fence and the tree she leapt from. The under growth is starting to thin and give way to long thickly growing grass. Ahead I can see no sign of movement as I stop and call once again.
"Rosy." Concern for her well-being pushes me forward. I can hear the others calling to her as they move through the undergrowth searching, we are well spread out now to cover as much ground as possible. Some of the calls are faint and I swivel my ears as I listen.
"Rosy! Rosy answered," someone calls excitedly in the distance.
I halt with my head raised as I listen for any further call. Someone is moving fast with no concern for noise and I follow at a steady lope.
"Here, here," Mitchell calls and I change course slightly to head towards him.
I find them in a small bare patch among the long grass; Rosy is stretched out on her side while Sam and Mitchell stand near her anxiously. She is still in her cat form and neither of her brothers has changed to human form. I smell the rich metallic tang of blood as I lower my head and sniff near her ears.
"We are here, we are here. You are safe now," I croon softly even though I know she has yet to learn to understand cat talk.
I glance towards Sam and he leaves hurriedly without me having to tell him to go for a vehicle. Rosy remains motionless as the others begin to arrive and make a protective circle around her. Concerned that she makes no sound or attempt to move, I sniff searching her scent for traces of injury. Gentle nudges make her flick her ears and swish her tail. I put my front paw on her head making sure she remains lying on the ground when she moves.
When Donny crawls close to her, giving several little whines, she lifts her head to look at him. She appears unafraid of us all even though she is injured, but the sound of an approaching vehicle brings her to her feet swiftly. She gives a soft mewl of pain as she collapses and I stand over her, licking around her ears in an attempt to soothe her.
Sam is with us before she can recover and I move away as he tosses a pair of my jeans towards me. I begin my change knowing he will organise sending the warriors home and getting Rosy back for medical treatment. By the time I am in human form and pulling my jeans on, Rosy is human once again.
I expect more of an argument than the slight reluctance I encounter as I help Sam get his sister ready to travel back. Her compliance worries me deeply. How badly is she hurt? An injured werecat prefers solitude. Is she hurt badly enough not to fight us or struggle? Or is Rosy finally beginning to trust us?
* * * * *
Nearly two and a half hours, a lot of stress, eighteen stitches and much drama later, Rosy is curled up in Mitchell's bed nearly asleep. Sam is sitting by the bed watching her, and Mitchell is off somewhere in cat form with Justin and Donny.
The mood in the lounge room is very reserved as I get myself a beer before sitting on the lounge and relaxing with a sigh.
"Did Rosy really threaten to castrate you?" Timny asks wide-eyed with a mixture of fear and concern.
"Gawd! Tell me she didn't," Dwayne mutters and rubs his face with both hands.
I look around as I hear unsettled movements around the room. Everyone except for Steven seems tense with Mitchell, Justin and Donovan absent.
"Rosy had a very nasty gash high on her inner thigh. She was terrified Steven or I or both of us might take advantage of her when I stitched the wound. Yes, she did threaten me, and yes, I will punish her for that. There is absolutely no need for anyone of us to worry she might sneak up and try to castrate us. The tool was taken away from her," I say in a calm level voice.
"But she ..." Malcolm starts with an uneasy glance in Edwin's direction.
"I. Will. Deal. With. Her." I say tightly stressing each word. "I believe she was motivated by fear or rather terror, not by nastiness or obstinacy unlike some others," I send a glare at Edwin who has refused to let anyone help him with the deep scratches I left on his ribs.
"But she can't go around making those kind of threats," Edwin growls angrily.
"I will be making that clear to her," I tell him refusing to get drawn into another fight.
"What about her disobeying you yesterday?" Edwin demands, "You just going to let that go after putting her in her place?"
"No one took into consideration her upbringing or her occupation before she came here. Rosy worked treating sick or injured animals. The cow having trouble calving would have triggered the urge to help. She probably didn't even consider her actions or their consequences." I say evenly.
"You're just taking it easy on her because you want her! You fucked up your chances with Donna so now you've decided to settle for Rosy. You're putting your own desires ahead of Jazzy's safety and Jazzy is your sister!" Edwin growls angrily as he gets to his feet and faces me.
"Rosy threatened you, the chief warrior. Hell, no one is physically bigger than you here and she is prepared to try to take you on. What if she decides to attack one of the smaller members of our clan? Timny, Chris or maybe even Justin or Donny... going to stand aside saying she didn't consider her actions then?" Edwin demands coldly. "You need to put her in her place right from the start!"
I can't help noticing Edwin only mentions the smallest members of his own team, even though there are others smaller than them, along with our two youngest brothers.
"Micah?" Donny calls uncertainly from the doorway and I glance towards him to see Justin move into sight behind him.
"Come in Donny. We are just discussing Rosy's behaviour earlier," I tell him.
"Edwin might have a point Micah," Dwayne mutters uneasily.
"I have already said I will be punishing her for making the threat and I will be having a very serious talk to her about her actions yesterday," I force myself to remain calm and in control of the situation. I realise this is much more than concern being voiced over Rosy's behaviour – my ability to put everyone's safety above my interest in Rosy is in question.
I can see how carefully Edwin is choosing his words. He genuinely cares about the safety of everyone Rosy may come into contact with.
"Shouldn't both Mitchell and I be in here when you are discussing Rosy like this?" Sam asks coldly as he moves past Justin and Donovan with Mitchell close behind him.
"Rosy is injured. You said you're not sure how bad, Micah. She is in pain and that painkiller you gave her has knocked her out. Do I have to protect my sister?" Sam asks evenly.
Sam stands facing me, clearly determined to stand between Rosy and me if he believes it is necessary. Mitchell has positioned himself behind Sam as well as between the hallway door and everyone else. Together they are a formidable defence team.
"I never intended to start this kind of conversation without you both here and nothing would be decided amongst the team without you present. Some have concerns over your sister's behaviour and are worried about ... the safety of others," I say evenly.
"You planning on punishing Rosy?" Mitchell demands. "She was badly frightened and totally at your mercy when she made sure you knew she was prepared to defend herself."
"Rosy wasn't letting me know she was prepared to defend herself. She was making sure she controlled the actions of Steven and me. She refuses to communicate with us or let us communicate with her. Rosy doesn't trust anyone other than Rosy. She didn't even trust you and your brother to protect her even though both of you were close enough to the room to get there to prevent either of us doing anything inappropriate." I try explaining my understanding of the situation to Mitchell and Sam.
I stop talking for a moment as I look from Mitchell to Sam and back again trying to read their reactions.
"So you're saying you are going to punish Rosy for not trusting you?" Sam asks sceptically.
Mitchell growls low in his throat and I hear a slight sound of someone getting to their feet.
"From what I can tell, what I understand from Rosy's comments and actions, she thinks the only form of punishment clan cats hand out is execution," I say calmly.
Both Sam and Mitchell move restlessly as they glance around uncomfortably.
"Rosy will learn that does not happen here. She will learn her actions have consequences and she must think before acting. Yes, she will be punished, in an acceptable way. As we all already know execution or severe punishment is only used in extreme cases," I say firmly as I keep direct eye contact with Sam, then look towards Mitchell.
"What are you going to do?" Edwin taunts sharply. "Send her to bed without tea?"
"What punishment would Jazzy get if she made the same threat?" I ask intent on keeping calm.
"You can't spank Rosy! She's hurt," Donny cries out in distress.
Low angry growls come from both Sam and Mitchell and I am not surprised when Mitchell moves to stand shoulder to shoulder with his brother.
"It can wait until she has recovered," Mitchell orders on a low gravely tone.
"You're not getting your sister out of trouble that easily," Edwin growls angrily and takes several steps towards Mitchell aggressively.
"No, it will be done while she is still injured and defenceless, just as Jazzy would be disciplined." I order firmly. "Why she is to be disciplined will be explained, then she will be punished."
"Edwin! Mitchell! We are not fighting among ourselves over this," I snap firmly. "Rosy will be disciplined and that is final."
"With you one hundred percent of the way, Boss," Steven says not far behind me.
"It's the way it has to be," Edwin agrees.
"No-one wants to hurt Rosy, but she has to learn," Dwayne says.
"As Rosy's brothers, you can ask her injuries be taken into account, and her punishment lessened," Malcolm suggests.
"Rosy has to learn," Timny says quietly.
"But you can't hit Rosy! She's a she-kitt," Donny protests.
"Micah, can we talk to you in the sunroom?" Sam asks stiffly.
"Just you and I," I say as I walk past both Sam and Mitchell. I have no intention of trying to reason with Mitchell as he is probably more inclined to decide Rosy should be treated too leniently.
I hear Sam follow me from the lounge room. I hesitate at the hall end of the sunroom and glance over my shoulder at Sam. I make my way over to one of the large windows and glance out at the view before turning to face Sam and giving him my full attention.
"So you plan on punishing Rosy for disobeying you yesterday and threatening you today," Sam says uneasily.
I can tell he plans to protest her punishment and I don't particularly want to get into an argument with him over it.
"No, I want to talk to her about yesterday before I decide if I need to punish her for that. Today's episode, definitely punishment for that ..." I begin to explain.
"Can you take it easy on her? Rosy is injured and I don't think she'll understand why she is being punished. She was scared, terrified out of her mind when you roared, and she hurt herself. Now you want to punish her for trying to protect herself when she was scared you would hurt her?" Sam argues.
"I'll make sure ..."
A loud yell of rage along with a crash of furniture and bodies precedes a loud yell. "Micah! Sam! You're needed here!" Steven roars.
We rush for the lounge room, and my size gets me there fractionally ahead of Sam, I barely pause as I take in the sight of Steven, Dwayne, Robbie, Mikkarl and Malcolm trying to separate Edwin and Mitchell. Edwin has Mitchell in a hold from behind but Mitchell is slamming savage elbows back into Edwin's ribs earning grunts of pain.
I move forward to grasp both of the combatants by their shoulders and pull them in different directions.
"Break it up now!" I roar loudly.
"Mitchell! Edwin! Back off now both of you!" Sam roars beside me as he grabs hold of Mitchell while I transfer both hands to Edwin as we try to separate them.
It takes nearly half a minute but finally Edwin and Mitchell are pulled apart. Mitchell is intent on continuing the fight, struggling against the restraining holds of Sam, Dwayne and Steven. Edwin watches the struggle coldly with a sneer on his face with only Malcolm still holding him by the upper arm loosely.
"Sam, Dwayne, take Mitchell in to sit with Rosy," I order.
"Let me go!" Mitchell protests but wisely Sam keeps hold of his brother until they are out in the sunroom.
"What the hell happened?" I demand as I glance around everyone in the room.
"Edwin couldn't leave well enough alone," Steven answers. "He had to make a comment on Rosy's issues of being touched."
"Mitchell needs to wake up to himself," Edwin snaps with a glare at Steven. "His job is to protect Jazzy. Rosy doesn't even belong to this clan."
"Enough! There will be no fighting among ourselves," I say firmly. "Edwin you are to keep well away from both Mitchell and Sam for the rest of the day. You'll only start a fight if you go mouthing off like that."
"Start a fight? Hell I got more than one to finish first," Edwin says on a snarl as he glares at me before turning and heading into the hall with Malcolm following him. Clearly he considers the fight at the carcases unresolved.
"Chris, Timny, do you two want to go with them?" I ask. I know Edwin could consider them remaining here an attempt on my part to cause trouble in his work team.
Both Chris and Timny glance my way as they head for the door. Timny gives a slight nod and I know he understands why I asked, he'll be sure to put Chris straight if there is any concern I blame the entire team for Edwin's actions.
* * * * *
The rest of the afternoon passes without incident; Sam and Mitchell spend the time with Rosy while she sleeps. I send Donny back to the main house about an hour before mealtime telling him not to bother Wade with Rosy's injury. Surprisingly Donny nods his agreement without hesitation and I realise how much nearly everyone has come to accept my authority over all matters here in the quarters. Edwin and his team stay out until just on dark, returning in time for the evening meal.
Just before the meal is dished out Sam carries Rosy out and settles her on the lounge. Mitchell immediately sits with her, letting her lean against his chest and use him as a pillow while she watches tv or lies with closed eyes.
"Rosy awake enough to eat?" I ask Sam as he is dishing up three bowls of thick rich stew.
"Yeah, she woke up about an hour ago and has stopped dozing off now and then," Sam answers as he stops ladling out stew to look over his shoulder towards the lounge room where his brother and sister are.
"You won't be too hard on her will you?" He asks worriedly when he looks at me meeting my eyes squarely.
"No, I don't intent to be but a lot depends on how she reacts," I say as I grab several thick slices of bread to go with my own bowl of stew.
Steven lends Sam a helping hand, carrying Mitchell's food into the lounge room while Sam carries his own bowl and Rosy's. Everyone is soon eating with gusto except for Rosy who sits propped up on the lounge, glancing at the tv intermittently and looking at her bowl of food without attempting to touch it.